The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

On The Table

October 31, 2012

Strange brews: Festive drinks add to the party

JOPLIN, Mo. — Bree O’Haro knows from experience that Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore.    For the past five years, O’Haro has worked as a bartender at Sportsman’s Park Bar and Grill at the corner of Seventh and St. Louis streets in Joplin. She has worked as a bartender for more than 10 years.

O’Haro says that Halloween is one of the most popular adult holidays of the year. The combination of costumes and Halloween-themed parties lends itself to a good time, she said.

According to the National Retail Federation, 71.5 percent of Americans planned to celebrate Halloween this year, up from 52.5 percent in 2005. The group also says that spending on Halloween is expected to hit a record $8 billion, with the average American spending about $80 on costumes, candy and decorations.

The folks at Sportsman’s Park celebrate Halloween in a big way, O’Haro said. The bar and grill held a pre-Halloween party over the weekend, and another party is set for tonight.

O’Haro said she loves to make festive, fun drinks for parties and accessorize them in cool ways. Her Witches Brew, for example, is served in a large bowl and cooled with pieces of dry ice. The dry ice, O’Haro said, gives the punch a true Halloween look and feel.

“You can go online and find 50 different recipes for Witches Brew and all of them will call for dry ice,” she said.

O’Haro said she once worked at a bar where drinks with dry ice in them were served to customers, but that won’t be the case at Sportsman’s Park tonight. Dry ice will be used as a decoration, but it won’t be placed in drinks sold to patrons.

“It might look cool, and it’s fun to walk around with dry ice in your drink, but really, it’s not a good idea,” she said.

O’Haro also discourages using dry ice in drinks that will be served to children. Dry ice must be handled properly or it can cause burns.

For O’Haro, the key to a fun Halloween drink is to make it look as good as it tastes.

“You eat and drink with your eyes. If it looks appetizing, then you’ll probably drink it,” she said.

A popular Halloween drink is O’Haro’s vampire bloody mary, which she garnishes with, among other things, fake bloodshot eyeballs made out of radishes and olives.

To make the fake eyes, O’Haro peels a radish into red and white stripes. She then cores the radish and stuffs it with a small pimento-stuffed olive.

“You can then put them in an ice cube tray, freeze them and then add them to ice in drinks,” O’Haro said.

We have included O’Haro’s recipes, which can also be served without alcohol.

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